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Relaxing Family Beach Vacation in Nantucket, MA

photo: homeaway.com
photo: homeaway.com

Step off the ferry to the gorgeous island of Nantucket and you can feel your stress wash away with the waves.

This New England getaway is a 30 minute ferry ride from the Hyannis Park Harbor, but well worth the trip. Forgo the car rental on the mainland and walk onto the Steamship Authority ferry.  Most things are walking distance once you’re there anyway. Once on Nantucket island, you can rent bicycles at Young’s Bicycle Shop for a daily or weekly rate. Young’s has the baby and toddler vacationers covered by having child seats, trailers, and jogging strollers available for rent. They also rent cars and Jeeps for when you just want to take a drive around the island.

Kid Friendly Beaches/Attractions in Nantucket

Considering Nantucket is an island, it’s not surprising that there are enough beaches to explore a new one each day of your trip. Some are protected by the sound in Nantucket Harbor, and others have huge, crashing waves. Here’s a list of the best family friendly beaches in Nantucket:

Children’s Beach (Harbor View Way Nantucket, MA 02554): is a nice small beach with a playground right near the calm water. There’s also a picnic area, food stands, activities, and a lifeguard is usually on duty.
Insider tip: in October, the seaweed can be a bit thick

Jetties Beach (Jetties Beach Nantucket, MA 02554): best beach for kids. The water is calm, nearby are changing rooms with bathrooms. Other family friendly amenities include tennis courts, snack bar, windsurfing, sailing, and kayak lessons and rentals. It’s close to town, and there are shuttle buses from town, soft sand except at the shore where it pebbly’.

Insider tip: Avoid Brant Point as it has a strong current.

Madaket Beach: Great place to see big waves, rough surf, but not swim. A lifeguard is on duty most days. This beach is known for gorgeous sunsets.
Insider tip: minimal parking, and not walking distance from town, so take the shuttle bus.

Cisco Beach has big waves for surfing lessons through Force 5 Watersports for the tweens and teens in your group.

From Surfside Beach, the family can enjoy a day on the sand watching the big, crashing waves and the gorgeous ocean horizon.

Check out the Chamber of Commerce website for more info on Nantucket Island Beaches.

Shipwrecks & Lifesaving Museum is a short drive away, or you can take a bus. Here you can learn all about Madaket Millie, and Marshall the Dog. Read our article on the museum’s grand re-opening.

Whaling Museum has a 46-ft sperm whale skeleton. The discovery room has several captain’s chests for kids to rummage through.

Climb the bell tower at First Congregational Church for a great view overlooking the town.

Straight Wharf is a great place to see huge yachts.  It’s also a great place for the famly to take a ride on the Pirate Adventure sail, Wed & Thurs mornings. Toddlers & preschoolers will love to wear pirate hats and go on a treasure hunt.

Old South Wharf is a perfect place to get an ice cream cone and take in the view.

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Nantucket

Expect long lines and high prices for dinner. Save a bit of money on breakfast and lunch to balance out your budget.

Downyflake Restaurant (18 Sparks Street) for the best blueberry pancakes at very reasonable prices.

Nantucket Lobster Trap (508-228-4200) will deliver your meal (from lobsters to cheeseburgers) to you on the beach.

Arno’s Main St. Grill (41 Main Street) has fish and chips for the kids, and delicious fresh seafood for you.

Sfoglia Restaurant (130 Pleasant St) has delicious, simple Italian food the whole family will love.

Kid Friendly Hotels in Nantucket

There are plenty of inns and B&B’s around, but the White Elephant Hotel Residences (formerly Hampton House Villiage) come overwhelmingly recommended above all. This family friendly hotel has all the charm of an inn, with the amenities of a kid friendly resort; including a kids program for ages 5-13 has afternoon camp with lunch, and evening camp with dinner. Kids activities include field trips to the aquarium or nature hikes. The hotel is close to Children’s Beach, and in the heart of town.

Nantucket is a wonderful place for a family beach getaway, rich in history and serenity.

View and print our Google itinerary map Nantucket with Kids.  It pinpoints everywhere we recommend.

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